Three Spartan Baseball Players Earn Big Ten Honors
Erla tabbed to All-Freshman Team as pitcher, Iverson as both third baseman and utility player, Young MSU’s Sportsmanship Award honoree.
OMAHA, Neb. -- Michigan State baseball had three players recognized by the Big Ten Conference with postseason awards announced Tuesday afternoon by the league office, prior to Wednesday’s start of the B1G Baseball Tournament at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.
Freshmen Mason Erla and Zach Iverson were both named to the All-Freshman Team, with Erla earning the honors at pitcher and Iverson being tabbed to the list as both a third baseman and utility player.
Senior infielder Kory Young was MSU’s Sportsmanship Award honoree.
This season’s three All-Big Ten honorees gives MSU a total of 42 All-Big Ten accolades under head coach Jake Boss Jr. It is also moves Michigan State’s All-Freshman Team honorees to 18 total, as the Spartans have had at least one freshman collect the accolade in the last 10 years. This season’s three awards matches the 2015 team for the most selections.
Erla, a native of Cass City, Michigan, is seventh in the B1G in opposing batting average at .220, as well as tied for 12th in strikeouts looking with 18. Now with six wins this season, Erla leads the Spartan staff and ranks tied for eighth in the B1G.
The Spartan hurler is also just outside the top 15 in the conference in both ERA, now at 3.91, along with innings pitched, now at 73.2 IP, as well as just outside the top 20 in the B1G in strikeouts with 53 punchouts. For the season, Erla is 6-4 with a 3.91 ERA, logging 53 strikeouts in 73.2 IP.
Erla started and went 6.0+ IP in both of MSU’s shutouts this season. He fired six Ks vs. Rutgers on April 1, which was his second-highest outing of the season behind his career-best nine vs. Niagara on March 17, and he now has five or more punchouts in five of his last 11 outings after five strikeouts at Minnesota on May 12.
Iverson, a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, started in 40 of 42 games played, including playing and starting in 25 games at third base; playing in 11 games at second, starting nine; playing in seven games at first base, starting six; and making two pitching appearances.
For the season, Iverson is hitting .256 with 13 RBI, tallying a .327 slugging percentage and a .337 on-base percentage. He ranks tied for second on MSU with two triples, part of his nine extra-base hits, which ranks tied for fourth on the team.
On the mound, Iverson has 2.0 IP with two strikeouts, yielding one hit, while not allowing a run.
This season, Young has played in 26 games, making 15 starts. He shares the team lead with six sacrifices, topping the team with five sac bunts, while adding one sac fly.
Young had a memorable Senior Day last Saturday, smacking not only his first triple of the season but of his career and it came in his final at bat at McLane Stadium at Kobs Field in the Spartans’ B1G Tournament clinching win vs. Ohio State. He finished his Senior Day going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, his second multi-hit outing this season, ended the day with a career-high four total bases, as well as tying a career-best with two runs scored.
Michigan State will take on 12th-ranked Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten Baseball Tournament on Wednesday, May 23 at 6 p.m. ET at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The Spartans finished the regular season 20-30 overall and 11-12 in B1G action to earn the No. 8 seed, while Minnesota is the No. 1 seed and regular-season B1G champion with a 37-13 overall and 18-4 B1G ledger.
MSU is making its fourth appearance in the last five seasons, missing last year, and it is the Spartans’ 14th overall appearance in the Big Ten Tournament.
Fans can follow Wednesday’s B1G Tournament match-up with Minnesota through “Live Stats,” “Listen Live” and “Watch Live” links found at MSUSpartans.com. The Big Ten Network will televise all games of the B1G Baseball Tournament live, with each game also available on the BTN2Go platform, either online at btn2go.com or through the BTN2Go app. All of the MSU action will also be carried on the Spartan Sports Network live audio stream. The broadcast will be available exclusively at SpartanSportsNetwork.com and on the network’s 24/7 app for mobile devices (available on iTunes and Google Play). Broadcast veteran Scott Moore calls the action alongside Jake Boss Sr. providing analysis.
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